Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Idaho, Utah State University Team First To Clone Equine

Date:
May 30, 2003
Source:
University Of Idaho
Summary:
A University of Idaho-Utah State University research team is the first worldwide to clone a member of the horse family, a mule, according to an article to be published in the journal Science.

MOSCOW, Idaho — A University of Idaho-Utah State University research team is the first worldwide to clone a member of the horse family, a mule, according to an article to be published in the journal Science.

The research team includes Gordon Woods, UI professor of animal and veterinary science, Kenneth L. White, Utah State University professor of animal science, and Dirk Vanderwall, UI assistant professor of animal and veterinary science.

The baby mule, Idaho Gem, was born May 4. It is the first clone of a hybrid animal. A mule results from a cross between a female horse, a mare, and a male donkey, a jack. As hybrids, mules are sterile, except in extremely rare cases.

Veterinary examinations of the foal and its surrogate mother showed them to be in good health, Woods said. The foal romped with its surrogate mother during a news conference on the UI campus this morning to announce its birth.

The foal's DNA comes from a fetal cell culture first established in 1998 at the University of Idaho.

As scientifically and commercially significant as their accomplishment is for the horse industry, Woods said he is most excited because the project provides a new animal model, the horse, to advance understanding of human cancer.

Woods believes the breakthrough understanding of cellular biology necessary for horse cloning to proceed may offer new insights into cancer development in humans.

Woods, UI professor of animal and veterinary science, began working on the cloning project in 1998. As director of the Northwest Equine Reproduction Laboratory on the UI Moscow campus, he has spent much of his career studying horse-breeding issues.

Horses present a large challenge to those who would use advanced technology to assist them. Only two "test-tube" horse foals, babies conceived in a test tube, have resulted from in vitro fertilization experiments worldwide.

The mule clone born in May is the full sibling of a champion racing mule owned by Idaho businessman, UI benefactor and mule enthusiast Don Jacklin of Post Falls.

For three years, from 1998 to 2000, the team worked without apparent success. After transferring the nuclei from the mule cells into 134 horse eggs and implanting them into mares, two apparently "false pregnancies" resulted, but both failed to proceed past four weeks.

In 2001, the team began to focus on the calcium levels in the fluid surrounding the eggs during the cloning procedure. The change led to the first fetal heart beat, signifying the team had crossed a significant hurdle in the experiment. That year, researchers transferred 84 eggs, establishing five apparent pregnancies.

"The results were impressive and immediate," Woods said. The first change led to a significant advance in the development of cloned embryos.

In 2002, Woods, White and Vanderwall continued to adjust the calcium levels in the fluid surrounding the egg during the cloning procedure. That change dramatically increased the team's success.

The team established 14 pregnancies using mule DNA in 113 attempts. Eight of the pregnancies continued to at least the 40-day stage when heartbeats were detected.

To test whether mule DNA could be limiting success, the team also made 61 attempts to use horse DNA. The test resulted in seven apparent pregnancies, two of which developed heartbeats. Neither of the horse clone pregnancies developed past the critical 60-day threshold, however.

The UI-Utah State team is the first to succeed among several teams worldwide attempting to clone a member of the horse family. The 2002 preliminary testing showed the method developed by the researchers to successfully clone a mule should work equally as well with a horse, Woods said.

"It basically came down to a matter of numbers, and we wanted to focus most of our attention on cloning a mule, which was our original objective," Vanderwall said.

White is widely recognized as an expert on cattle cloning and brought cloning expertise to the team. Vanderwall, who like Woods, earned doctor of veterinary medicine and Ph.D. degrees, brought extensive clinical expertise to the team.

Woods had taken an interest in basic horse physiology after becoming intrigued by the observation that stallions, male horses, do not develop prostate cancer.

The horse's basic metabolism is "slow" compared to humans and many other mammals, Woods said. He speculated that difference in cellular activity might play a role in both cancer development and reproduction.

He formed an outside company, Cancer2, to investigate that observation with the backing of private investors. The studies showed a fundamental difference between men and stallions in the calcium concentrations within the cells and surrounding fluid. Woods said the team will explore other lines of scientific inquiry opened by this year's success.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Idaho. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Idaho. "University Of Idaho, Utah State University Team First To Clone Equine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030530081416.htm>.
University Of Idaho. (2003, May 30). University Of Idaho, Utah State University Team First To Clone Equine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030530081416.htm
University Of Idaho. "University Of Idaho, Utah State University Team First To Clone Equine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030530081416.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins